Dulltown, Europe: Today’s dance is the ‘acro dance’ – come on Stella, let’s give it a try – goodness me! I didn’t know you could do that!… Here, take my hand, let me help you up again…
Here we go again… Yes, it’s another ‘Badger Book’ – an early 1960s British pulp science fiction novel from my modest collection. This one is by John E. Muller, yet another pseudonym of the very prolific Reverend Robert Lionel Fanthorpe MBIS. (Member of the British Interplanetary Society)
Although I must have read this one, (I have read them all!) I can’t remember much about it – let’s get a flavour of what is says on the back cover:
‘Dolores Foster was walking home from work when she noticed an oddly shaped glittering something at the edge of the pavement…. a metallic brooch or badge of unusual lightness… engraved with semi-geometrical patterns, and she thought that it was vibrating as she held it… at a cocktail party that evening… either the stranger who approached her and began asking incredible questions was drunk, or reality as she knew it could never be the same again… men who played with the fabric of the three-dimensional world as if it were made of putty…’
Yes, I’ve met people at parties just like that… No, not really – I wish I had! People at the parties I get invited to usually just talk about how awful teaching is and how much their houses are worth…
Back to ‘phenomena X’ – I wonder if there is a ‘Phenomena A’, and a ‘Phenomena B’, &c. Still, ‘X’ as a letter is pretty spiky and dramatic isn’t it? As sure as ‘X’ is ‘X’, a good choice Mr Muller, or should it be Herr Muller?
Presumably that is Dolores on the cover, oh and that big purple face behind her might be the ‘chap with the incredible questions’ from the party. (Actually, doesn’t he look a bit like that old Hollywood film star George Sanders?) But isn’t this a lovely bit of painting? Definitely in the style of ‘Fox’ the usual Badger Book cover artist, although this one isn’t signed.
I love that piece of ‘scientific’ apparatus with the pipes and dangerously glowing transparent vessels. It is obviously part of a much bigger and grander machine just out of shot to the left – it’s no good turning the book over to see if the painting continues on the back dear reader, I’m sorry to say that it doesn’t.
Dolores seems to be interacting with the hardware – look, she’s holding a glowing test tube connected to the gubbins with a piece of thin twisted wire – I hope she knows what she’s dealing with here! I think she might have allowed her attention to wander – she’s not looking what she’s doing – I think her mind must be on purple George and his plans to mould reality like putty. Poor thing, she’s lost in a ‘weird wild dimension – full of strange secrets’ – nice strange white dress though…
I just thumbed through the book and found a passage that years ago I had marked with a pencil – would you like to read it?
“Hm, just so. Have you done any work on matter/conversion?”
“Do you know anything about extra-dimensional transit angles?”
“I know such things exist, theoretically.”
“What would you think if I postulated the existence of a four-dimensional super cube?”
“This is beginning to sound like science fiction.” growled the Superintendent.